Nonessentialists tend to be so preoccupied with past successes and failures, as well as future challenges and opportunities, that they miss the present moment. They become distracted. Unfocused. They aren’t really there. The way of the Essentialist is to tune into the present. To experience life in kairos, not just chronos. To focus on the things that are truly important—not yesterday or tomorrow, but right now.
Starting from today I have not any major customer to work for. What to do now?
I decided to take a break, look at my last 12 months and plan the next ones. Planning will involve what is important to me, not only my professional life. I have plenty of books to read, movies to watch, documents to organize, bank accounts and investments to check, wardrobe to update and more. All the stuff You don’t have time to look after. Plus I have myself to take care: more exercise, more sleep, more walking, more caring.
Last but least: friends and relationships. I know I have to work hard on that, I lost contact with too many beloved people and I regreat that. I will try to figure out how to spend more time with the people who deserve it.
We assess race, gender, and age in a fraction of a second. We aren’t as good at guessing sexual orientation, but, to the extent we see it, we see it right away: when students are shown a photo of a man and asked if he is gay, they are about as accurate within one hundred milliseconds as they are after longer periods.16 For these reactions, we don’t need anything close to two seconds. But for other questions, two seconds isn’t nearly long enough. If we are asked to tell whether someone is friendly or dangerous, we do better with more time. To accurately assess whether someone is sociable, we need at least a minute, preferably five.17 The same is true if we are judging complex aspects of personality, such as neuroticism or open-mindedness.18 For these decisions, our impressions during the first two seconds fail us. We need more time.
Cognitive psychologists have provided mountains of evidence over the last twenty years that memory is unreliable. And to make matters worse, we show staggering overconfidence in many recollections that are false. It’s not just that we remember things wrongly (which would be bad enough), but we don’t even know we’re remembering them wrongly, doggedly insisting that the inaccuracies are in fact true.